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Selecting a mediator: what are your goals?

Unlike a guardian ad litem–whose work product and testimony may impact a judge’s decision at trial–the only thing the court will hear from the mediator is that mediation took place, what issues were mediated, and what issues remain unresolved. In this respect the choice of mediator has no bearing on the outcome of the trial. […]

An evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer

I find it curious that attorneys routinely treat incomplete or evasive discovery responses as no big deal. From my reading, Rule 37(a)(3), SCRCP, could not be more clear, “For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.” Further, Rule 37(a)(2), SCRCP, makes it clear that […]

The guardian’s questionnaire is additional interrogatories

While not thought of as such, the guardian’s questionnaire is akin to additional (child-custody related) interrogatories. As an example, the current questionnaire of a local attorney/guardian, S. Maria Averill, whose work I greatly respect follows: Admittedly such questionnaires are not answered under oath. Still, inaccurate responses or responses that trash the other parent or that […]

Does your work product convey seriousness?

With every litigation both parties have the options of settlement or trial. One factor in deciding whether and on what terms to settle is how seriously the other side appears in its preparation to take the case to trial. A less prepared opposing party presents lower risks at trial and allows a more aggressive approach […]

The pitfalls of boilerplate supplemental interrogatories

I’m shocked how often I encounter supplemental interrogatories in family court in which the issuing attorney has clearly given no thought into how interrogatories might be useful in that particular case. The ability to require the opposing party to answer up to fifty (including subparts) unique questions, under oath, and early in the case, without […]

Wives can pay alimony too

When I first began practicing family law twenty-five years ago it was almost unheard of for South Carolina wives to be ordered to pay alimony. Even when circumstances suggested alimony might be appropriate (high income wife; low income husband staying home with the parties’ children) few took these husbands’ alimony requests seriously. Often these husbands […]

Ambiguity in the rules on requests for admissions

There is a clear ambiguity in the South Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure regarding requests for admissions–SCRCP 36. I suspect that many denied requests to admit exploit (or take advantage of) this ambiguity. Akin to the procedural rule addressing responding to pleadings, the rule regarding responding to requests for admissions states that “when good faith […]

A few big things trump a lot of small things

At the very beginning of any new domestic client relationship the attorney and client need to discuss the client’s goal, discuss the law related to each of these goals, and discuss the evidence that might be marshaled to achieve each goal. For example, if a client has the goal of getting custody of the children, […]

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